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Aard-Vark

AARD-VARK (meaning "earth pig"), the Iyutch name for the mammals of genus Orycteropus, confined to Africa (see EDEN-TATAI. Several species have been named. Among them is the typical form, O. capensis, or Cape ant-bear from South Africa, and the northern aard-vark (O. aethiopicus) of north-eastern Africa, extending into Egypt. In form these animals are somewhat pig-like; the body is stout, with arched back; the limbs are short and stout, armed with strong, blunt claws; the ears disproportionately long; and the tail very thick at the base and tapering gradually. The greatly elongated head is set on a short thick neck, and at the extremity of the snout is a disk in which the nostrils open. The mouth is small and tubular, furnished with a long extensile tongue. The measurements of a female taken in the flesh, were head and body 4 ft., tail 17 1/2 in.; but a large individual measured 6 ft. 8 in. over all. In colour the Cape aard-vark is pale sandy or yellow, the hair being scanty and allowing the skin to show; the northern aard-vark has a still thinner coat, and is further distinguished by the shorter tail and longer head and ears. These animals are of nocturnal and burrowing habits, and generally to be found near ant-hills. The strong claws make a hole in the side of the ant-hill, and the insects are collected on the extensile tongue. Aard-varks are hunted for their skins; but the flesh is valued for food, and often salted and smoked.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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